Architecture / June 19, 2018 / .
It is clear that the purpose of a building will have a major bearing on its cost. Housing has a very different cost range to apartments and commercial development. Likewish the cost of providing public amenities such as conference centres, theatres and sports stadia cannot be directly related to the provision of public infrastructure such as hospitals or schools. The cost of each building must be related to its individual design, which may be benchmarked against similar national and international projects.
The location of the project will influence its cost. High value sites attract high value developments and it is inappropriate to locate low value projects on valuable sites. Local development plans will constrain what can be built on such sites in any case. In general, urban locations are more expensive than their rural equivalents due to higher local wages, costs associated with access constraints, limited space for staff accommodation facilities and material storage, and the additional security measures required.
The choice of the architect as lead designer is a key decision on any project and will reflect the clients priorities, particularly those related to cost and quality. Clients who plan to develop high quality or landmark developments often employ high profile design practices. Indeed internationally acclaimed architects including Daniel Liebskind, Santiago Calatrava and Dublin-born Pritzker prize-winning Kevin Roche have completed projects in Dublin in the recent past. The leading Irish architectural practices are likewise normally in high demand and clients are keen to buy into their signature. High expectations are usually linked to high prices and such clients will expect to pay a premium on prestigious projects. Nevertheless, they may not be prepared to provide total carte blanche to the architect. Architects, quite naturally, may be reluctant to drop quality standards and compromise their brand to reduce costs and it may difficult for the quantity surveyor to control costs in these circumstances. In this regard Ashworth refers to a cynic who described architecture as the design of beautiful buildings that satisfy only the architect and not the client. At the other end of the cost spectrum a client may require a practical, nononsense design to accommodate a production process. Such designs are often developed by architects operating within a design and build arrangement where providing an economic design is essential to winning the contract.
Clients who prioritise cost over speed or who require fixed price lump sums will generally experience longer development programmes, as designs must be substantially completed before tenders can be obtained. This process may take a considerable amount of time as careful thought is required to develop and refine the scheme design. The design, in turn, influences the contractors construction methods which determine length of time taken to complete the contract on site.